with no one to tell

Today, from a distance, I saw you,
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.

— Ted Kooser, “After Years,” Solo: A Journal of Poetry, Spring 1996

Photo: Supernova remnant is the spectacular remains of an exploded star, located about 190,000 light-years away. The expanding multimillion degree remnant is about 30 light-years across and contains more than a billion times the oxygen contained in the Earth’s ocean and atmosphere…We see the remnant as it was about 190,000 years ago, around a thousand years after the explosion occurred. The star exploded outward at speeds in excess of 20 million kilometers per hour. (Image Credit – NASA via Anne’s Astronomy News)


  1. Beautiful poetic words so apt for the galaxy that sure is supernova, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So beautiful and elegiac…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such incredible distances, numbers, incomprehensions….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i love this glimpse – we are but specks

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for telling us, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. No words. Beautiful 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  7. While we are where we are, our life spinning in its orbit, there are huge and little things spinning out there in their own orbits that we have no clue about, all happening as if choreographed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Elegiac is new to me as well. And I love it. It’s going into a special bag of words.

    This poem feels like it was written while he was in between.
    Like in between sober and drunk, right before drunk. Or in between sleepy and sleeping. States where everything that comes out is intensely but simply true and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. David, you do such a superb job at curating your blog. Just wanted to say this again. Aloha.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If not for tradition – the passing down of the family experience from one generation to the next by verbal communication- much of the best of humanity would go by the way of a far off cosmic event. Not knowing that it ever existed.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Himna Khan says:

    Beautiful!! this was so gripping and I really like the choice of words!

    Liked by 1 person

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